William Ralph Jurjens slipped peacefully into the arms of his Lord Sunday, March 6, 2016 at Luther Hospital surrounded by his loving family.
Bill was born on April 25, 1941 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin to Peter and Hazel (Johnson) Jurjens, the fourth of seven children. He grew up on the modest family farm in Pleasant Valley, where fun times were spent singing with his musically talented family around the piano or radio. Bill taught himself to play guitar by sneaking his older brother’s when he could. Many hours of running in the hills playing soldier and after attending Memorial High School, found himself in the hills of Vietnam an Army Medic. Small in stature Bill had to stuff himself with food to “make weight” so he could enlist.
Bill was proud of his service to his country and the lives he helped to save and was haunted by the ones he could not. As his best friend and “brother” Mick Daniels eloquently put to words of a song “we never really came back.” Bill, Mick, Bill’s brother Mike, and Randy Moen formed the band “Blue Ribbon Express” and entertained large numbers of devoted fans. Bill could light up the room with his smile, and was a loyal friend to all who knew him, but of course one had to put up with some teasing along the way.
Bill was united in marriage to the love of his life Sharon Davis-Babbitt on May 12, 1973. They had one daughter, Brenda (Steve) Fredrickson. Happy times were spent with family and friends, on camping trips Bill would bring the guitar to the campfire and soon the entire campground would be gathered to one place to enjoy the seemingly never ending entertainment he would tirelessly provide. Always a bonus if he could get others to join in. Avid Packers and Brewers fan would be an understatement. “Jeepers Pats.”
Although Bill and Sharon only had one daughter, she provided them with ten beautiful grandchildren he lovingly adored, and recently their first great-grandchild.
Bill is survived by his wife, Sharon; his daughter, Brenda (Steve) Fredrickson; ten grandchildren, Dustin Fredrickson, Samantha Fredrickson, Quinn (Brayton) Jaenke, Rachel, Grace, Naomi, Sherman, Bethany, Cecil, and Gideon Fredrickson; one great-grandchild, Theia Noelle Jaenke. He is further survived by his brother, Mike Jurjens (Julie Stokes); sisters, Joyce Pahl and Doris (Mike) Bauer; sister-in-laws, Maryann Jurjens, Mary Jurjens, Carolyn (Dennis) Glidden, Helen Bell, Doris (Thomas) Zimmerman; Coni Davis (Jaime Huntington) and Sue Davis-Luse (Vern Luse); brother-in-laws, Earl Babbitt and Gerald (Kathy) Davis; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Robert Jurjens, Norman and Bev Jurjens, and Edward Jurjens; brother-in-law, John Pahl and Duane Davis; and mother-in-law, Marcella Lesco; and nephews, Jimmy Jurjens and Scott Bauer.
Stand under the stars on a quiet night and you may be lucky enough to hear one of Bill’s renditions of your favorite Hank Williams song.
Funeral services will be on Thursday, March 10, 2016 at 11:30 am at Smith Funeral Chapel with Pastor David Irgens officiating. Visitation will be Wednesday, March 9, 2016 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm and one hour prior to the services on Thursday at the funeral home. Burial will follow the service on Thursday at Lakeview Cemetery with American Legion Post 53 preforming military honors.